Fun links for Friday and beyond.

For the past few weeks, I’ve spent a lot of time reading. As much as I love to read, not all of the material in front of me was pleasurable. This is partly my fault. In the writing classes I teach, I assign a lot of homework. I have to. I can’t expect my students to improve their skills if they don’t practice them.

I really don’t let up on them until the bitter end. This means that I don’t really let up on myself, either. I reckon I will have graded 250 rough and final draft essays, and 135 short reaction papers by the time this semester is put to bed. And that is with only 2 classes, one of which is very small this semester (12 students) and the other of which has a bunch of slackers who aren’t handing in all of their work.

But it does all pay off. This last batch of grading that I finished yesterday contained essays that are far better than they were in January. Sure, the students who don’t put as much effort into their writing are still handing in mediocre work, and this makes me quite frustrated. For others who have stuck with me, however, and have read my feedback, written everything I asked, asked questions and paid attention, things are finally starting to fall into their place. And this is the light at the end of my tunnel. This is what I’ve been waiting for all semester long.

But I need breaks even from the good essays, and this often comes in the form of reading things that I want to read just for the hell of it. Here are some of my favorite things I’ve read about language over the past couple of weeks:

What great things have you read lately? Share in the comments!

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Swirling thoughts and a link.

In rem jurisdiction and in personam jurisdiction. Strict scrutiny or rational relationship. Two-part test for long-arm statutes. Selective incorporation via the 14th Amendment. Stare decisis.

Quiz on run-on sentences. Grading final drafts for evening class. Grading rough drafts for Saturday class. Definition essay organization. Principles of revision and editing. Checking, always checking, for plagiarism.

Codfish cakes. Beer. Vacuuming. Maybe some fruit or brownies. Beer. Finding paper plates. Beer. Continue reading

“It’s run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible! This is an ex-semester!”

Well, almost (I know, I keep teasing you!) The title is, of course, a rip off of Monty Python’s brilliant Parrot Sketch. After reading essays for five hours (and a couple more hours to go), it’s about the height of intellectual activity that I can handle at the moment, so the best I could do for Friday’s Word of the Week is to find different ways of saying done! Finished! Over! Ended! Completed! With the submission of final grades over the weekend, I shall be putting the semester to rest, sending it up the river, kicking it to the curb, and, my personal favorite, putting the kibosh on it.

As far as I can tell, no one really knows the true origin of the phrase to put the kibosh on something. The most popular theories put its origins with Yiddish, Scots Gaelic, Irish Gaelic, and Turkish. It is generally accepted, at least, that it first appeared in print in London newspapers in 1834 and spread from there. Continue reading